Training For Impact

A dynamic, generative learning space that supports early career organizers from a dedicated region of the U.S. in building the campaign and organizing skills necessary to run powerful climate justice campaigns. Applications for the Fall 2023 Great Lakes regional cohort are open now until Saturday, August 5th. Climate organizers from Michigan, Illinois, IndianaMinnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin are encouraged to apply!!

2022 Spring TFI Cohort
Why join a Training For Impact cohort?

The Training For Impact (TFI) cohort is a 3-month intensive peer learning and training experience designed for organizers and leaders committed to taking action on climate change. By joining the TFI cohort, participants have the opportunity to deepen your skills, forge meaningful relationships, and expand their campaign knowledge in order to drive transformative change.

In the TFI curriculum, we emphasize equipping participants with valuable insights, skills, and tools to:
  • Enhance Political Analysis: Develop a deeper understanding of how racial capitalism and other systems of oppression contribute to the climate crisis and intersecting challenges.
  • Conduct Strategic Planning and Power Analysis: Cultivate a holistic power analysis and strategic approach based on their organizational theory of change, focusing on the critical capacities needed to build strong, multiracial, and cross-class movements.
  • Design and Implement Campaigns: Learn how to design and execute impactful campaigns that secure transformative climate solutions for their communities. This includes campaign development, narrative and communications strategy, and a relational approach to organizing that blends both offline and online engagement.
  • Build Teams and Develop Leadership: Build and sustain healthy, joyous activist teams that prioritize relationship-building, create pathways for leadership development, and contribute to the growth of a people-powered climate movement.
  • Cultivate a Culture of Learning: Foster a culture of continuous learning within your organization, enabling you to assess what works well and what needs improvement in pursuit of your vision and campaign goals.
  • Grow Personally and Professionally: Expand their overall capacity to take on new roles and responsibilities within an organization and in the broader climate movement.
Who is Training For Impact for?
The Fall 2023 Training For Impact is open to organizers, advocates, and activist leaders who:
  • Reside in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin).
  • Currently lead or actively participate in a climate justice campaign in their community.
  • Possess 1-3 year(s) of grassroots organizing and/or climate campaign experience.
  • Share the Lab team’s commitment to justice-centered and intersectional organizing practices.
  • Are eager to contribute to a dynamic, joyful space where we reflect, learn, laugh, and dream together!

At The Lab, we strive to support a powerful, multiracial, cross-class movement, and we encourage applications from BIPOC organizers, youth organizers, and individuals organizing in rural and low-income communities.

Fifteen smiling 20-somethings pose as a group on a patio at night
TFI Spring 2023 Cohort at Houston Kickoff
What's the Commitment?

Training for Impact cohorts run for three months, including a 3-day, in-person kickoff, followed by 14 virtual sessions. Every other week following the kickoff, participants meet for two 90-minute sessions (typically Tuesdays & Thursdays). The first session of the week is mostly content and listening, and the second session of the week is participatory and focused on how participants will apply the knowledge and skills from the prior session. Participants should come prepared to not only build new skills and be trained, but also to draw from their organizing and campaign experience, and their current work to develop learning with other participants.

On occasion, we ask participants to come prepared to a session with pre-work or homework from the previous session. This can add about an hour to the weekly commitment for the cohort.

Don't miss this opportunity to be part of a transformative cohort that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to create lasting change in the fight against climate disruption. Apply by August 5th to join the Training For Impact Fall 2023 Cohort!

Program Overview
Module Session Details
Pre-Kickoff Session
early/mid-September TBD
  • Zoom Meet + Greet and In-person Kickoff Prep
Module 1: In-person Kickoff (Minneapolis,MN)
September 22nd, 2023 - September 24th, 2023
  • Session 1A + 1B: Being in Right Relationship; Leadership Development + Culture of Learning
  • Session 1C + 1D: Political Education
Module 2: Power Analysis
September 26th & 28th, 2023
  • Session 2A: Understanding Dimensions of Power, Pillars of Support, and Power Mapping
  • Session 2B: Power Mapping Spectrum and Analysis; Spectrum of Support
Module 3: Strategy
October 10th & 12th, 2023
  • Session 3A: How to Diagnose a Problem and Create a Solution; Steps to Building a Theory of Change
  • Session 3B: Workshopping Theory of Change, Strategic Planning, and Finding the Gaps
Module 4: Conflict Management
October 24th & 26th, 2023
  • Session 4A: Understanding Conflict in Multiracial, Cross-Class Movement and Organizing Spaces; Conflict as an Opportunity for Growth; Tools to Strengthen Facilitation and Conflict Management Skills
  • Session 4B: Role-Play Conflict Management Strategies
Module 5: Organizing Part 1
Self-paced before November 7th, 2023
  • Session 5A: Organizing Structures and Frameworks; Engagement Strategies and Organizing Models
  • Session 5B: Identifying and Workshopping your Organization's Engagement Strategies
Module 6: Organizing Part 2
November 7th & 9th, 2023
  • Session 6A: Recruitment and Retention; Leadership Development for Volunteers; Escalation and Absorption
  • Session 6B: Creating a Ladder of Engagement and Nested Tactics
Module 7: Application Presentations & Closing
November 28th & 30th, 2023
  • Cohort Member Presentations
Applications for Fall 2023 Training for Impact Cohort are due Saturday, August 5th, 2023.
Hear from Past Participants
During TFI, I have truly gained so many skills, but also underwent personal growth and witnessed tangible results in our campaigns and organization. The knowledge and skills I acquired have empowered me to become a more effective climate advocate, equipped with evidence-based organizing strategies.
This cohort framework has provided a platform for self-reflection, enabling me to identify my strengths and understand how I work best. Moreover, it has reaffirmed my belief in the universal truths of organizing, regardless of the diverse situations and locations in which we operate. The wisdom, power, and knowledge shared by Assata and my peers have been transformative, fostering a deep sense of learning and personal growth.
Through this program, I gained invaluable self-awareness and learned to embrace my unique strengths as a leader. Recognizing that I am not primarily a task-oriented leader allowed me to leverage my strengths effectively.
As a relatively new organizer, learning on the go without much opportunity to slow down and grasp the necessary tools, I greatly appreciated the insights provided by the program. One impactful aspect was the emphasis on the Ladder of Engagement (LOE). This tool helped us to recognize the different levels of involvement and how to strategically engage individuals, particularly within marginalized communities, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.

The program enabled me to reflect on my own leadership skills, which stem from my background in the healthcare industry, known for its top-down approach. Recognizing the need to implement leadership practices that truly serve my community, I have gained valuable insights and tools to reshape my approach and foster more inclusive and equitable leadership.
The knowledge retention aspect of the program was outstanding. I had never before considered critical capacities in such a formal way, and the curriculum provided invaluable insights into strategic, organizing, narrative, disruptive, and electoral and institutional capacities. I witnessed a transformation in myself as I gained a deeper understanding of these concepts and applied them to my work. Power mapping and narrative building were also particularly impactful, enabling me to develop new strategies for my work and think outside the box.
The Training for Impact modules have been so relevant to the topics I am currently working on. I have been bringing learnings around power-building and base-building to many of the coalition spaces I am a part of. I also took a lot from the relational organizing modules and was quickly able to implement the different strategies for sharing your “story of self” and 1:1 meetings, as I just started a new job. I am using those frameworks a lot and have noticed a positive difference in our organizing program!
Honestly, one of the things that has been most useful has been the curriculum and developing a more in-depth fluency with the Lab's resources. It's a lot of information, but I now feel prepared to find what I need when I need it when doing organizing work! So far, the Engagement Systems Parts 1 and 2 as well as the Critical Capacities frameworks have been most useful on my end.
The campaign planning and development modules were concrete and so helpful. I’ve come back over and over to those resources, especially the different case studies. This was the training I have been waiting for! …I was on coalition call recently and we were talking about power mapping. Sharing examples [that I learned in the Cohort] of how other coalitions have developed a community power analysis challenged us to think differently about our coalition's 'strategic culture.'
Who leads Training For Impact?

Assata Harris

Assata Harris is a movement builder, community organizer, trainer, facilitator, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Candidate living in the San Francisco Bay Area. A proud alum of the University of California, Davis, and Sciences Po, Paris. She is currently attaining her Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California. Since 2009, she has been an organizer, facilitator, and trainer for over 8 years. She has led and directed climate justice programs that advocate and mobilize frontline communities around equitable solutions to the climate crisis and trained over 3,000 activists on justice and equity issues, organizational change, and strategic design. She specializes in training curriculum, facilitation, organizing, justice, and equity training.

Gabby Heidrich

Gabby Heidrich is a climate justice organizer and movement builder dedicated to training, resourcing, and coaching youth climate organizers to scale up local movement networks. She attended Iowa State University and helped to run a campaign pushing the university to close its on-campus coal plant and transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. Through her work as a youth climate organizer, she was inspired to continue working with young people and new organizers to build up the climate movement and broader justice movement. She is dedicated to building organizer trainings, writing campaign-specific resources, and cultivating 1:1 coaching relationships with grassroots organizers and their local groups on the ground leading the fight against fossil fuels.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there a cost associated with participating in a Training for Impact cohort?
No, we are able to offer this program free-of-cost with generous support from the Lab’s funder collaborative.
What will the first in-person session be like? Do I have to travel to attend?
We strongly believe that convening an in-person gathering at the start of the cohort helps to build and strengthen relationships and investment in the Training for Impact programming. We provide food for the duration of the session and additional travel stipends will be available for those who request it. We will also be able to offer hybrid participation options for those who are unable to travel. We will start the in-person kickoff with a welcoming module on Friday, September 22nd, in the mid-afternoon, followed by a full day of programming and dinner on Saturday, September 23rd. On Sunday morning (September 24), we will wrap up programming and say goodbye before traveling home! 
What happens if I need to miss a session?
If you need to miss a session, participants are required to give advanced notice as early as possible. We understand many people have prior obligations, but generally expect participants to join the live sessions.
Do I have to be a member of the Climate Advocacy Lab to apply?
You do not need to be a member of the Climate Advocacy Lab in order to apply for the cohort, but we do require all TFI participants to become Lab members so they are able to easily access our resources and tools. We encourage all applicants to get that process started by filling out this new member form.
Do you have accessibility alternatives for completion of the application for those who need it?
We are more than happy to provide additional support for those who would like to use an alternative process for submitting an application, like interviews or video/audio submissions. Please contact us with your request at one of the emails listed below.
I have a question about the program or application. Who can I contact for clarity?
Please feel free to contact us through email with any questions. You can contact either of the Training For Impact Leads, Gabby Heidrich,, or Assata Harris,
Who has joined previous cohorts?
We welcome applicants from climate and climate justice groups of all sizes! Past participants have come from local and state-based organizations like Nevada Conservation League, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience as well as national groups, like Sierra Club and Sunrise Movement.